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Full text of "Alexander von Humboldt"

80                                 LIFE  OF
In the January of 1808, Hnmholdt and Bonpland
sailed for Guayaquil, in a royal corvette. But on the
6th January, a noise and roaring filled the air, and
they heard that it was tlie sound of the volcano
Cotopaxi, which was now in labour, and which Hum-
boldt had ascended the year before. The wish, to
observe the volcanic eruptions and ravages of this
mountain as nearly as possible, made liumboldt*. «oon
ready to set out to visit the volcano once again, But
on the way thither, he and Bonpland were obligou
quickly to return, as the news reached them that the
frigate Atalante, in which they wished to Htiil, was
obliged to start.
After a journey of thirty days, they arrived irx
Acapulco, a western port of Now Spain, whoso scenery
is as pictiiresque as its climate is hot and unhealthy.
At first, when, his plans had necessarily to be changed,,
Humboldt intended only to remain a few months in
Mexico, and then to return to Europe, bocauBe liis
instruments seemed to him. to have suffered, and his
endeavours to remedy their imperfections were in vain,
But the country, and the inhabitants of Mexico do-
lighted him so, that he did not like to terminate his
journey as speedily as he had originally proposed.
The scientific and genial charms of a country so rich
and diversified in its scenery, were too strong to bo
overcome. But this journey needed also the greatest
precaution, as the yelloV fever, which is indigenous
there, and infallibly attacks and kills all those who
descend into Mexico from the highlands, from July
to October, induced Humboldt to remain at Acapxileo
till the end of the winter, and then to commence Ids
journey into the interior. During that period., he was
actively employed in experimenting on the atmospheric
phenomena, and with the arrangement of his manu-
scripts and specimens.
But in the middle of winter they started, and
descended first into the glowing hot vales of Para-
guay, where the temperature, in the shade, was at 82
degrees Reaumur. He found a milder and fresher